Michael Bennett had a “terrifying” incident with the Las Vegas police last month and he’s finally broken his silence about the incident.
The Seattle Seahawks defensive end posted a harrowing message on Twitter on Wednesday morning, retelling the chaos of the evening after the Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather fight and how he was falsely detained by Las Vegas police after an incident on the street.
Bennett said there were noises that sounded like gunshots on the Las Vegas streets after the fight, which caused people to run and take cover. Bennett said he was caught up in that chaos until a police officer ordered him to “get on the ground.” What followed was an incident where Bennett claimed he was verbally threatened, manhandled by police and detained without explanation before the officers realized who Bennett was.
“Las Vegas police officers singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Bennett wrote. “As I laid on the ground, complying with his commands not to move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would, ‘blow my f–king head off.'”
Bennett said he was “terrified,” and a second officer came over, “forcefully jammed” a knee in his back and made it difficult for him to breathe. The officers put handcuffs on his wrists so tightly that the Pro Bowler said his fingers went numb.
The Seahawks star said he was taken to a police car and held there for “what felt like an eternity” before the officers let him go.
“They apparently realized I was not a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man but Michael Bennett a famous professional football player,” Bennett wrote. “After conforming my identity, I was ultimately released without any legitimate justification for the Officers’ abusive conduct.”
Bennett is clearly upset about his treatment during the incident, which reaffirmed his belief that racial inequality is worth speaking out against. He’s publicly protested the national anthem in preseason after racial incidents in Charlottesville last month and connected his treatment to the deaths of other people of color at the hands of police officers.
I have always held a strong conviction that protesting or standing up for justice is just simply the right thing to do. This fact is unequivocally, without question why before every game, I sit during the national anthem — because equality doesn’t live in this country and no matter how much money you make, what job title you have, or how much you give, when you are seen as a “Nigger,” you will be treated that way.
The system failed me. I can only imagine what Eric Garner, Michael down, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Charleena Lyles felt.
Colin Kaepernick posted a Tweet of support for Bennett soon after, calling him his “brother” and sharing Bennett’s story.
Martellus Bennett — Michael’s younger brother and tight end with the Green Bay Packers — posted the statement on his Instagram with an emotional caption.
“The call that night was a scary one,” Martellus Bennett wrote. “The emotion and the thought of almost losing you because of the way you look left me in one of the saddest places ever. I could hear the fear in your voice, the tears in your eyes as well your sprinting heart beat. I can’t imagine how the people who lost their loved ones felt when they got the call.”
Bennett says he’s hired a civil rights attorney to investigate whether a suit can be filed against the police. It sounds like he’s committed to seeing this through to its conclusion, and he’s certainly no stranger to speaking his mind and being an activist, so it sounds like you’ll be hearing a lot about this incident as the NFL season takes shape.